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Government of the World

Dec 24, 2004 10:50 AM
by Anand Gholap

[ - Online books on Theosophy ]

" I want to put before you, if I can in these three lectures, a certain view of the world, and of the way in which that world is guided and directed. As this meeting is a public meeting, there is one state­ment I think thatI ought to make, which it would not be necessary to make, if it were composed of members of the Theosophical Society. It is important to remember that in the Theosophical Society we have no authority on matters of opinion. Every member is free to work out his own theory of life, to choose his own line of thought, and no one has the smallest right to dictate to any member what he should choose or what he should think. In the Theosophical Society there is only one condition which binds a member, namely, the recognition of Universal Brotherhood. Outside that every member is absolutely free. He may belong to any religion, or he may belong to no religion at all. If he belongs to a religion, he is never asked to leave it, to change it, but only to try to live up to its teachings of spiritual life, recognising the unityof all, to live in harmony with people of his own faith and people of other faiths. When we speak of Theosophy, we may take the word in one of two senses. The first, what it should be to the individual. In that sense there is no difference between Theosophy and the ancient Brahmavidya of India, thePara Vidya, and the Gnosis of the Greek - no difference at all. It is the recognition that man can realise God. It is called, in the Upanishad “theknowledge of Him by whom all things are known”. It is a difficulty rather of our language that we speak in that sense of “knowledge”, because knowledge implies a duality, or indeed a triplicity - the Knower, the Known,and the Relation between them - whereas when the Spirit of man, who comes forth from Ishvara, realises his own nature, it is no longer a case of thinking or of knowing. It is a case of realising that identity. You know it iswritten again in the Upanishad: “He who says ‘I know’, he knows not,” because the very word knowledge is an error in this realisation. In that, we do not say, “I know”; we say, “I am”. This gives the primary meaning of the word “Theosophy”. Then it is also used in a secondary sense: a certain body of teachings. No one of these particular teachings is binding on any member. The whole of these teachings together are the teachings the Society is formed to put forward in the world, but it does not make them binding on its members. That policy rests on a very sure foundation. The foundation is that no man can really believe a truth, until he has grownto the extent which enables him to see it as truth for himself. A teachingis not really a part of your spiritual life; it comes within the mental life, into that part of your nature which is said to be knowledge, the intellect; and that is able to see that which is akin to itself. The truth in yourecognises the truth outside you, when once the inner vision is open. Hence, in the Society, the study of the great fundamental truths of all religions is one of its objects. Members are not asked whether they believe in them or not. They are left to study them, in the full conviction that just as when the eyes are open the man who is not blind sees by the light of the sun, he is not asked to believe in the light, so is truth in the mental world. As soon as the eyes of the inner nature, the eyes of the intellect, are open, it is not a question of argument, but a question of sight. You recognise the truth because the faculty of truth in your own nature shows that it exists. You see by it, as you see by the light of the sun. As long as a manis blind, the sun to him as light is nothing. When the eyes are opened then no argument is necessary as to the existence of the light by which he sees. Truth is regarded in that way, and hence the student is left to study until for himself he knows the truth of any doc­trine. The teachings which are spread by the Society are those which you find in every great religion.If, for instance, you take a book published by the Central Hindu College as a text-book for Hindu boys, and an Advanced Text-book for Hindu young menin the College, you will find in them certain truths. They are given in the Hindi form. If you take the Theosophical text-book, used for teaching in schools where all religions are taught, where there are boys whose parents hold particular religions, you have those truths given which are common to all religions. The only difference is that in the Theosophical text-book, the various Scriptures of the world in different religions are quoted in support of them, while in the Hindu text-book only the Hindu Scriptures are quoted. That is the only difference so far as the great ideas are con­cerned; the ideas are identical.
2. You will understand that in all that I say now, I am dealing with things as they appear to me. They are not binding upon any particular member, for the duty of each is to think for himself. They do not commit the Society as a Society, because that only puts forward acceptance of Universal Brotherhood as a condition of admission. That which I say, I am responsible for. What I say is the result of my own study. It is for every one of you, Theosophists or non-Theosophists, member or non-member, to use your own intellect, your ownjudgment, your own conscience, in weighing every statement that I make. You ought not to take them ready-made as truth for you. Everyone must use hisown thought, and not simply go by that of another. Especially is that so, because I am going to deal with abstruse subjects. Speaking of them as truths, I am speaking largely on my own knowledge and also, in addition to that, taking certain statements congruous with what I know, but applied to a much larger area of facts then I myself am yet able to reach. For I am going to say a few things about the larger Kosmos of the solar systems, which I am not able to examine for myself. I am only dealing with the subject beforeyou as a whole, and will deal with that part briefly. But it is necessary,in order to give you as it were a fairly complete view, because there are many other solar systems about which I know nothing. Most of us speak aboutmany facts of science which we have not been able to verify; for instance,I am unable in astronomy to verify the statements of great astronomers as regards the situation and the relations of our vast solar system. I have not studied astronomy. If I had studied, I could not have attained to the knowl­edge of great experts in that particular science. But if I find them teaching on the solar system the facts that they have observed and collectedby telescope and by the many other ways, like the spectroscope, that they have of examining the composition of planets other than our own, I should take this from them, if their new facts were, generally speaking, congruous with what we know as regards our own constitution, its relationship to certain other bodies mathematically worked out, and so on. We are exactly in a similar position in dealing with what are called occult state­ments; namely, statements of facts as regards a partic­ular order of existence, withsome of which we can come into contact in our own world, the existence of which to some extent we can find out from the history of our own world; there are others as to which we find ourselves unable to make discoveries, togain first-hand knowledge; as to them, a large number of statements have been made about them by far more highly developed persons than ourselves. It is as true of occult science as it is true of astronomy, that a large part of it is taken on trust from experts. Certain parts of it may be found out by ourselves, by our own study; other parts cannot. The conditions are similar to those in astronomy, or in any other science. We must give to the study a large amount of time. We must study along certain lines which have been verified over and over again. We must go on to first-hand knowledge, which is the best but the most laborious way of acquiring knowledge. This, however, demands, to begin with, a certain amount of faculty for the particular science. You may find, for instance, a man who could never become a great astronomer - no matter how long he studied; a man who is deficient in mathematical power could never become a really great astronomer, because the higher mathematics are wanted in much of the astro­nomical study. If a manis by nature very stupid in that science, he could never become a great astro­nomer. So it is also with occult study. There are a number of personswho have not got the faculty to begin with. It depends upon their past, upon the line of evolution along which they have come. Pro­gress depends upon whether they have the faculty, how much time they are ready to give to the study, how far they are conforming to the rules laid down by experts forbeginners in the study, and so on. But admitting that there is a great difference between the reception given to occult science and the reception given to astronomical statements made by experts, everybody, practically everyeducated person, is willing to receive the testimony of the greatest astronomers to facts which they are themselves unable to observe or to verify. It is not a matter of life and death if they are wrong. But when you come todeal with statements of occult science, some of which you find in the great Scriptures of the world, some of which you find in the ancient histories of the world, there is much unfair scepticism in modern thinkers. Historiesare thrown aside as legendary and mythical. Scriptures are thrown aside assuperstition, though they contain the ideas of ancient peoples, much more learned than ourselves. Hence the difficulty of Occultism in justi­fying itself; a man must take it just on the lines I have put to you as to astronomical science. But the man of the day is ready to receive science which are based on apparatus. Where people make very elaborate apparatus, such as telescopes, spectroscopes, all kinds of things of extraordinary fineness anddelicacy, they appeal to the mind of the day, especially in the West; theyfor the moment are most advanced, it is said, in ordinary sciences. That is the way the mind works. It looks out to the objects and builds up its theories by observation, comparison, classification, and so on. Anything that goes along that line easily justifies itself to the ordinary modern mind. They do not challenge. Occultism works in a different way. It works by the development of new organs which are within the man, instead of by the manufacture of apparatus which is outside the man. Now the development of the inner senses, the inner powers of observation, can only be done under certain rules, rules which affect the body and the conduct of the man. It is much easier to buy a telescope and look at the moon through it, than it is to develop your own nature along lines to which evolution has not as yet accustomed us. There lies the difficulty of occult study. A person will be willing to submit to a discipline, will not resent it, if it is carried on in the laboratory of science, but he does resent it if it comes to him with the authority of the great Knowers of the past. It is along the line of facts thusobtained that I am going to speak to you. Therefore you must take them from that standpoint, and understand that I am not asking you to believe a thing because I say it. I am only putting before you a theory of the Government of the World which has many facts to recommend it in his­tory and in religion, but which may be challenged by those who do not accept ancient history, who do not accept the great Scriptures of the world of religion­ - and some which I am going to add from my own study, I will begin with that which I am unable definitely to verify. I can only put to you certain reasons for accepting it. Now broadly stated they are these. We have a solar system consisting of certain planetary bodies revolving round the central sun. These bodies are studied, and said by ordinary science to be moving under certain definite forces, under certain definite laws of nature, as we call them, which by observation have been established and re-verified over and over again. According to that scientific view, our solar system is to a certain extent a self-contained body. The central sun in a sense controls the movements of the planetary bodies which circle round it. And outside the solar system you have space, practically empty space. But science tells us there are a great many solar systems. We are only one out of a group. It tells us that the solar systems are in groups; and that we belong to a group - the whole group circling round another sun far, far, far off in the depths ofspace; so that we are not wholly self-contained. We are under other influences and are moving in obedience, as a whole group system, to other laws. We do not trouble much about that because we have little opportunity of observation. Any part of the argument of science there is practically an induction from certain ascertained facts. You make a theory that if there were a body exercising certain powers of attraction and repulsion, if your partic­ular part moves in a way which is not accounted for by anything you can discover, then there must be something as yet unknown to you causing these other move­ments which you cannot trace to any force existing within our own solar system. I know very little about that, and do not want to say anything more about it."

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